Although it might seem remote from the perspective of continental Europe, Iceland has a unique position between Europe and America, which makes it an intriguing prospect for international businesses looking to expand. The conditions for e-commerce in Iceland could hardly be better, and there is ample research into Icelandic e-commerce preferences, including internet usage, consumer behavior, key industries, popular payment methods, and import regulations.

Facts and Figures

Located in the North Atlantic, northwest of Europe and approximately 250 km southeast of Greenland, Iceland boasts a land area of around 100,300 km². That makes it roughly three times the size of Belgium. It is the second-largest island nation in terms of land area, but with only 375,000 residents, Iceland is also one of Europe’s least densely populated countries. Over 60% of its population resides in the capital city of  Reykjavik — the northernmost capital in the world.

With a Human Development Index (HDI) value of 0.959, Iceland ranks as the third-highest globally in terms of human development. Only Switzerland (0.962) and Norway (0.961) scored higher. The Icelandic Gross Domestic Product (GDP) $28 billion US dollars in 2022, with a per capita GDP of US$73,466.80. This is significantly higher than Germany (US$48,718) and nearly equal to the per capita GDP of the United States (US$76,329).

Iceland is a member of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and the European Economic Area (EEA). However, it does not use the Euro!

The currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Króna (ISK), with the value of 1 Euro fluctuating between approximately 135 and 165 Icelandic Króna from 2018 – 2023.

Internet usage and consumer behavior

The Icelandic population is very digitally savvy, with an internet penetration rate close to 100 percent. Following the global trend, the most active internet users in Iceland are individuals aged 16 to 74.  A 2021 survey indicated that over 97% of Icelanders use the internet on a daily basis, and in 2018, 94% of residents used the internet for online banking.

While computers were the preferred means of internet access for 96 percent of Icelanders until 2014, most have now switched to mobile devices for retail shopping. A 2023 Statista survey showed that 75% of retail site visits in the Nordic countries were on smartphones, and smartphones were used to place orders 67% of the time. 24% of retail website traffic came from mobile devices, but 31% of purchases were made on desktop computers.  A survey by the payment provider Rapyd found that 86% of Icelanders shop online.

Younger users, in particular, prefer mobile devices, aligning with a global trend. This is crucial for e-commerce, as younger consumers tend to be more oriented towards online shopping and spend more time online than their older counterparts. That makes the younger generation an attractive target audience for mobile-first websites.

Residents of Iceland are willing to order from foreign e-commerce retailers. In a 2021 survey, cross-border shoppers were most likely to have made their last cross-border purchase from the United Kingdom (34%), the United States (22%), or China (21%).

Most popular e-commerce markets and payment methods

Rapyd reports that the products respondents were most likely to have purchased in the last 90 days were “food or takeout”, followed by “clothing, shoes and accessories” and “entertainment tickets”. The biggest Icelandic e-commerce website is the international fashion retailer Boozt (, which had a revenue of US$28.7 million in 2022. Boozt is followed by the electronics retailer ELKO ( and Ikea ( Amazon does not have a dedicated website for Iceland, although it does ship some products to Iceland from international Amazon marketplaces.

For online payments, Icelanders prefer credit cards. Rapyd’s survey found that 78% of respondents had paid with a credit card in the past month, although only 46% listed it as their “preferred” payment method. This was followed by debit cards (39% / 20%) and PayPal (39% / 12%).  Other payment options, such as bank transfers (9%) or cash on delivery (COD) (5%), are seldom used in Icelandic e-commerce.


Icelandic is the official language of Iceland, spoken by approximately 314,000 people as their native language. The language shares common roots with other Scandinavian languages like Western Norwegian and Faroese. Icelandic has changed only slightly over the centuries,  and modern Icelanders can still read ancient Viking sagas in their original form.

Since the early 19th century, there has been a concerted effort to avoid the addition of foreign words to the Icelandic language. Instead, linguists find alternatives using roots from Old Norse and Old Icelandic.

Despite this purism, English is spoken almost universally in Iceland. Students begin learning English at the ages of 7 or 8 in all schools, and 97% of adults in Iceland speak English. Many speak additional foreign languages as well.

Iceland has a fairly low number of immigrants, but the three most common native languages besides Icelandic are Polish (2.74%), Lithuanian (0.43%) and English (0.32%).

Although English is so widely spoken, it is still advisable to translate your e-commerce website into Icelandic. People can always shop more easily in their native language, even if they speak English well.

For example, Iceland’s most popular e-commerce website (Boozt) is actually based in Sweden, but has a strong international presence. The website is translated into many different languages, including Icelandic. Had they offered only English, it is unlikely that Boozt would have enjoyed anywhere near this level of popularity. So by translating its website into this small, globally insignificant language, Boozt has secured an additional US$28 million in revenue.

Insights into Import Regulations

As a member of the European Economic Area, Iceland aligns its import regulations closely with EEA standards. However, there are more specific requirements for importing fresh meat and dairy products, as these may harbor problematic bacteria. For foreign countries outside of the EEA, regulations may be more stringent. Horses may not be imported into Iceland at all, as the country makes every effort to keep the bloodlines of its Icelandic ponies pure. Even Icelandic ponies may not be reimported once they have left the country.


Despite its remote location, Iceland is a promising expansion destination for international businesses. The conditions for e-commerce in Iceland are nearly perfect: almost all Icelanders use the internet regularly, and the great majority of them shop online. They are also willing to make cross-border purchases — the country’s most popular e-commerce retailer is actually based in Sweden.

Although the Icelandic market is small due to the size of its population, many other factors make it a strong candidate for e-commerce businesses looking to expand.  The limited availability of goods on this sparsely populated island, combined with Iceland’s membership in the EEA, creates a robust demand for cross-border e-commerce. Overall, Iceland presents exciting opportunities for businesses willing to navigate the unique landscape of its e-commerce market.



autor_eurotext_100Author: Eurotext Editorial Team

We explain how internationalization works, provide tips for your translation projects and outline some of the technology and processes used. We also report on current e-commerce developments and cover a range of language-related topics.